June 18, 2024 5:10 pm
Close this search box.

Local News

State House leaders propose pre-K funding increase


Sarah Kallis, GPB News

State House leadership presented their policy recommendations following a study into Georgia’s preschool program Tuesday.  

Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones says that a revamp of funding for Georgia’s public preschools is long overdue, and funding for furnishing classrooms and teacher salaries are too low. 

“The most glaring example, is that the amount of money that we provide to either a private provider — generally a day care operator — or a public school system to furnish a new classroom has been $8,000 for 30 years,” she said. “It has not changed in 30 years.”

Jones and the committee that conducted the study say teacher salaries need to align with those for educators who work with older children. Assistant teacher salaries would jump from about $20,000 to $25,700, not including a proposed 4% cost of living increase for state employees. The committee is also recommending class sizes be capped at 20 students instead of 22.

“We’ve got to up our game, to continue to offer one of the first universal pre-K system programs in the country and one that is certainly very successful,“ she said. 

Jones says the recommendations will cost the state $100 million, but the funds are available in the lottery reserves, which hold over $1 billion.

Speaker of the House Jon Burns said that education improvement needs to be a priority for lawmakers.

“Education really is the reason that this our state has been the best place in this country in which to do business for the last 10 years,” he said. “And if we want to continue that distinction, we … cannot just maintain what we’re doing from an educational opportunities [standpoint]. We must improve.”

This story comes to Savannah Sun Times through a reporting partnership with GPB News, a non-profit newsroom covering the state of Georgia.

Georgia Supreme Court justices appear skeptical of Athens DA’s claim of open records exemption

In an upcoming ruling, Georgia’s Supreme Court will weigh in on a claim brought by Athens-Clarke District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez, arguing that top prosecutors are exempt from the state’s open records laws. The case involves assertions that the trial court overlooked a constitutional provision in denying Gonzalez’s motion to dismiss an open records complaint, mirroring similar immunity arguments made by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in a separate case related to the 2020 presidential election interference.

Georgia public colleges to expand admissions testing requirements for fall 2026

Georgia colleges are reverting to requiring standardized test scores for all new applicants, signaling a shift from pandemic-era policies. Beginning in fall 2026, institutions including Augusta University, The University of Georgia, and Georgia Tech will mandate SAT or ACT scores, a decision unanimously approved by the Georgia Board of Regents.

Water-hogging data centers flagged in latest ‘Dirty Dozen’ environmental watchdog report

In its annual report released on Thursday, the Georgia Water Coalition spotlighted the detrimental effects of record economic growth on the state’s waterways, particularly in the coastal region, where a surge in state-of-the-art data centers poses a significant threat to Georgia’s rivers. The report urges urgent action from public officials and residents to advocate for policies that safeguard natural resources crucial for clean drinking water and outdoor recreation, emphasizing the need for coordinated water planning to address mounting environmental pressures.